Eileen Gunn in Smithsonian Magazine

Eileen Gunn, past Nebula winner and Hugo nominee, and author of the short story collection Questionable Practices, appears in the May issue of Smithsonian Magazine. Her article “How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future” explains that science fiction isn’t meant to predict the future — although sf ideas that fire inventors’ imaginations often have become reality.

The piece quotes Cory Doctorow, William Gibson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ted Chiang, Neal Stephenson. Samuel R. Delany, Sophia Brueckner and Jordin Kare.

Jordin Kare, an astrophysicist at the Seattle-based tech company LaserMotive, who has done important practical and theoretical work on lasers, space elevators and light-sail propulsion, cheerfully acknowledges the effect science fiction has had on his life and career. “I went into astrophysics because I was interested in the large-scale functions of the universe,” he says, “but I went to MIT because the hero of Robert Heinlein’s novel Have Spacesuit, Will Travel went to MIT.” Kare himself is very active in science fiction fandom. “Some of the people who are doing the most exploratory thinking in science have a connection to the science-fiction world.”

[Via Ansible Links.]